Editor's note: The Southern Foodways Alliance delves deep in the history, tradition, heroes and plain old deliciousness of barbecue across the United States. Dig in.
If you make your way to St. Louis, Missouri, any time soon, ask a local to show you one of their barbecue specialties: snoots. In both editions of the classic guidebook Real Barbecue (1988 and 2007), authors Greg Johnson and Vince Staten put it this way: "First we'd better deal with 'snoots.' Snoots are part of the soul-food barbecue scene in St. Louis that will stare at you at the C & K, as well as any number of other places in town and across the river in East St. Louis. Snoots are deep-fried pig noses."
At Smoki O's, another St. Louis barbecue joint, they smoke their snoots for a couple of hours instead of frying them. Whether boiled, fried, or smoked, snoots get doused with barbecue sauce and are meant to be eaten right away.
Though snoots are strongly associated with St. Louis, they figure into the barbecue history of other U.S. cities. In the late 1920s, black street vendors hawked snoot sandwiches in Atlanta. By the 1930s, snoots were also sold in Harlem and were a nightlife staple on Memphis's Beale Street. On the other side of Missouri from St. Louis, snoots aficionados like Ardie A. Davis (a.k.a. Remus Powers, Ph.B, Doctor of Barbecue) occasionally gather at the Tenderloin Grill in Kansas City for what they call "Snoot Wednesdays." There, a snoot sandwich all the way is topped with mustard, hot sauce, horseradish, onion and tomato. If you show up and happen to bring along a bottle of Pig's Nose Scotch to pair with your snoots, don't expect a lot of nosy questions. They'll just ask you to pull up a chair.
Today's installment comes courtesy of Adrian Miller, a culinary historian, certified barbecue judge and author of an upcoming book about soul food. Follow him on Twitter at @soulfoodscholar.
Delve into more barbecue goodness from the Southern Foodways Alliance blog
Previously - Getting squirrelly over Brunswick stew and How to spot a great barbecue joint
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Snoots are the cheek meat of the pig. Not the nose.
There is a little bit of the nostril left on after butchering.
But that is trimmed off befroe cooking. There are many different ways to prepare.
the article states that this is a soul food staple, but IT IS NOT a St Louis cross-cultural standard. What does go across culture is BBQ pork steaks. Now THAT is very much St Louis BBQ. I wish writers would quit stereotyping our city and surrounding areas. We also have toasted ravioli, very unique to St Louis.
I'm generally willing to try different foods, but I don't like when they look so much like they did when they were alive! This looks too much like a nose for me. I couldn't eat it without thinking about pig boogers.
My grandmother was crazy about her "pig ear" sandwich with hot mustard. Couldn't sell me on that and certainly not this. How 'bout a side order of fried pig lips with that? Great if people love these...more baked ham and bacon for me!
Up here in New York City we eat them as well, but they are called snozagages which are served on sticks with champagne.
Are you sure that picture is a beef snout instead of pork? The hair follicles seem to be in the wrong places for a pig. And it looks so boiled, as if it never had a chance to smell any smoke. The color looks off for something that was supposed to be smoked; I mean even steel pans in the smoker get that smokey patina. Does the chef use a nose hair trimmer before its cooked? How come the snoot isn't chopped, is it that easy to bite into? One would think a snoot, made for rooting would made from tough stuff. And if it is smoked, how do you get it lit?
This goes to show that with the right BBQ sauce, anything can taste good.
Well, bacon is pig butt and eggs, well... they're a chicken abortion.
I believe you mean chicken period bc the egg is not fertilized. Either way.
Some are fertilized. Depends on what brand you buy.
Is there a kosher snoot?
From reading the comments, sounds like maybe this is more localized to EAST St Louis (yes, in another state, but so what?) than St Louis. I understand that East StL was once a big meat packing town before they all closed down. I wonder it that's why it got localized there–closer access to the source of the snoots? It's cheap bar food. PS: Anybody remember Archie comics? One of the teachers at Archie's high school (was it the music teacher's) was named "Mr. Flutesnoot" (he had a long nose).
You may think that is tasty, but I think it snot.
That, my friend was genius! LOL!!!!
I see what you did there. You so silly.
i like it!
(the gag, not the snout)
I'd like to see a politician in a photo op eating this piece of nastiness.
I'm so bad for lmao at that.
I'm in my early 30s, am white, and have never lived more than 30 minutes away from downtown St. Louis. And guess what? I actually HAVE heard of snoot sandwiches. My grandparents talked about them, as well as other foods that I'm sure most people would find appalling: blood sausage, brain sandwiches, head cheese, and pickled pigs' feet. I tried none of them, but saw them and heard about them often. Keep in mind that foods are not always a reflection of race/culture, but also economic status, family tradition, geographic location, and taste buds. In the not-too-distant past, it was simply not an option to waste any portion of an animal. These sandwiches continue to exist–so it seems that they probably are pretty tasty. It's a safe bet that every region has "gross" foods somewhere in existence. Rocky Mountain oysters? Tripe? Sweetbreads?
Some things are best left to reside in history books. I'd say the need to eat every piece of pig is one of those. Every culture has something like this, I'm Italian and there are still people who wax poetic over stuff like capozelle (sheep's head). I think its kind of funny- our ancestors ate this stuff because they had to- if they knew we were eating it now of our own free will, they'd probably think we were nuts.
To piggyback on your point (pun intended); in the moreso distant pass, the taste buds of Blacks were influenced by the parts of the pig they were allowed to keep after the more tastey portions were served inside; i.e. chitterlings or chitlins. Thank you for posting some perspective. I agree, a poor White person in the city will likely no more about snoot than a middle classed Black person in the suburbs. It just struck me that so many spoke so strongly against the idea that St. Louis serves up something they find appalling.
We still eat all parts of all animals. The left overs are either ground up into hotdogs or fed to other animals. Even chicken feathers. Parts is parts, lol
Snoot? S'not my thang!
That sandwich wins my vote, by a nose.
No thank you...
I live in St Louis and have never heard of this at all, now I also never go over to East St Louis,which is in Illinois, not Missouri.
A snoot? No way. I'd rather vomit and eat that.
Try the snoot and that can likely be done!
I grew up near East St Louis, dining on many animal parts notusually found on the kitchen table. But, snoots are a cross between bacon and pork rinds, best prepared by boiling first before grilling or baking. Meant to me served right off the grill with BBQue sauce. Mmmmm Good stuff, Maynard.
With all the residents of St. Louis declaring that they have never heard of this "Snoot Sandwich" it's hard to say if this is for real or just a hoax. Doesn't matter - however if we could put together a couple hundred juicy ones (like in the photo) and present them to the Mullah council and president Ahmadineschad in Iran, this could be a very effective way to let them know that the U.S. is genuinely very upset with them over their nuclear program and threats against Israel. It's worth a try, because nothing else seems to be working.
Pig noses are one of many "unusual" parts of pigs that go into hotdogs.
No doubt we have all eaten this in our hot dogs. This should be on the GITMO christmas menu.
I've lived in St. Louis my whole life and never heard of such a thing. St. Louis did used to be known for (cow) brain sandwiches, but even those are hard to find anymore.
I live over in Collinsville and have had snoots a couple of times. You can only find them in run down old barbecue shacks in the east side or the north side. They are disgusting and I don't recommend them.
Oh, this is sow wrong!
Yup...no wonder all the medical conditions.
Snoot is actually a well known aphrodisiac
I live in St. Louis and have never heard of such a disgusting thing.
Further proof of the ignorance of Americans.
I was thinking the same thing. I lived in StL and ran a BBQ club in Rolla, never heard of this. CNN rating grab. Oh and Thanks CNN, for making sure everyone think StL is all about 'Snoots', you've officially turned every future conversation I have about StL BBQ into explaining how "snoots' are NOT a StL tradition, but do exquisite.
No worries man, America know St. Louis is snooty
I used to work with a guy from Alton, Illinois, he would always look forward to the family celebrations that included pig snoot sandwiches. The way they prepared the pig snoots was to grill them over hot charcoal until they were brown and crispy. He explained that snoot sandwiches were a local favorite and could be found in most of the local taverns. The picture of the snoot sandwich in this article looks to have been taken at the Tenderloin Grill in Kansas City. The Kansas City snoot is boiled and served with mustard, onion,horseradish and tomato. According to the owner, all graduates of the Kansas City Police academy must eat a pig snoot sandwich as a rite of initiation.
tune in for next weeks special.....
fresh hairy chewy ears and eyeballs that pop in your mouth.
To the author of this article: After reading the responses. It seems all but two of the native St Louisans have never heard of this sandwich that you said is so prolific. And the two who have heard about snoot sandwichs have had them primarily in East St. Louis. Those are two totally different cities in two different states.
Geography is tricky, so just pretend, for Pete's sake.
if you lived in St. Louis proper and not a suburb of St. Louis, then you would have heard of barbequed snoot. Come into the city and explore the places you only pass by when leaving a sporting event, you might just discover some interesting resturaunts.
Heard about... yes. Make it the state dish, like the authors seem to think already, no way. I'm a BBQ guy and a StL person, but I'm honestly offended by this. Thanks for using the most horrible picture (that isn't cooked right) and linkingit to my home town. Butchers....
Getoutmore, I do. I love trying new restaurants and in over a decade of trying every 5 star through 1 star restaurant I've been able to discover, I've never found snoot on the menu. Another poster seemed to say snoot might be relegated to East St. Louis and maybe some neighborhoods on the north side. I haven't been to every place but I'm trying! :-)
The main point being, this is NOT a dish that just any local would know about...as the author insinuated.
Ally, I see your point more clearly in this post than in the one I replied to previously. You are right. It's like asking someone from Sikeston about St. Paul sandwiches. Relative to the rest of the country, snoot may be unique to St. Louis; however, it appears that it is not a popular dish and likely not even a St. Louis original. To the St. Louisians posting on this topic, can we agree on this: there are some things in our city that may be more prominent or popular in certain parts of the city and/or among certain ethnic groups? As such, we should not attack the author as fabricating some sort of snoot conspiracy. Rather, we should perhaps levy any criticisms at the exaggerated prominence of the dish in our town. Finally, to those across the bridge in E. St. Louis - you are indeed a part of the St. Louis Metro area and I suspect that more St. Louisians frequent the East side than are willing to admit.
@will, this was probably the most well said comment on here. I believe the author was just too broad in his declaration of a St Louis favorite. I actually live east of the river...so after reading these comments I'm surprised I haven't seen snoots on a menu at some point.
Thank you! I'm proud to be from StL, NOT East StL, which is riddled with gangs and strip clubs and is not even in Missouri.
Authors... next time you want to go for the ratings, get your facts strait. Southern Foodways Alliance, you are officially on my BlackList of sources.
Last I checked, Illinois and MIssouri are neighboring states. Oh wait, East St. Louis is actually considered a part of Metro St. Louis. Did I miss the point that East St. Louis is a two minute drive across the bridge from downtown St. Louis? The cities are not across the country from each other.
Of course. But if this dish is almost exclusively an East St Louis tradition it needs to be written about that way. I have nothing against E St Louis nor people who like to eat snoot. But this article is not accurate.
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